Self care for creative people

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas

Being a creative person can be exhausting and draining without a self-care practice. Learn how to create a self-care regimen that supports you and keeps you in top form.

Creative people need an individual approach to self-care

Creative people lead a life that is outside the norm with strange hours and working conditions. Things change quickly and each minute and each month is different. As a creative person, you’ll need a wealth of self-care resources and practices to draw from based on your own patterns and industry. Think about issues you’ve had in the past. Do you have trouble saying no? Do you work for long hours in the same position? Does your mind suffer first if you get stressed? Knowing your weaknesses and vulnerabilities helps you work out what you’ll need, spot common patterns and personalize your self-care practice. Write a list now of your common stressors.

Self-care is preventative medicine for creative people

There’s a reason why self-care isn’t just a ‘frill’ that creative people can cut back on. You are your most precious resource, because there’s never going to be another you to create your work and you can’t just buy a new young and fit body off the shelf.

Your body and mind are probably strong, but all creative people, including you, have their limits and a self-care practice acts as a preventative measure. For instance, can you get the same work done in 3 x 4 hour sessions instead of pulling all-nighter? Is the all-nighter worth it if you are wrecked for days afterwards? Self-care is often about making smart choices that prevent harm. Above all, never work if you think doing so will cause you permanent injury. Better to lose a client than your capacity to work.

Be creative with your self-care practices

Work out what self-care means for you. It could be walking, meditation, swimming, breathing techniques, coffee with a friend or reading fiction. What rejuvenates you? Look out for new ways that make you feel good and recharge your creative batteries. Do you work better when you take a break every 40 minutes? Does adjusting the light help you write for longer periods? Does listening to a soothing song before you perform help to calm your nerves? Notice what works for you. Ask other creative people what their self-care practices are. Be curious and observant.

Creative people’s bodies need self-care too

We use our bodies to paint, sing, dance, play instruments and create. Don’t endanger your body with excessive alcohol, drugs or extreme sports. Nourish yourself with food and take time to recover from illness. Get enough sleep. Exercise. Go outdoors. Wear protective gear (earplugs, masks) when needed. Is your working space ergonomic? Are you warm enough? Notice which parts of your body hurt after you’ve been working for hours. Self-care encompasses physical practises like adjusting your chair, doing regular stretches or regulating the room temperature. Be attentive and listen to your body.

If you’re young and male, I know that this advice is going to seem ‘soft’ – but take it from someone old (in your eyes anyway!). Those injuries and ways you neglect yourself are going to come back to haunt you sooner than you think. The body stops repairing itself after a while. And you don’t want to be bothered with limitations you didn’t need to have. So be efficient and start taking care of yourself. You’ve only got this one body to last you your whole lifetime!

Resting is part of self-care for creative people

Whether it’s resting your mind or your body – we all need “down time”. Many creative people are workaholics who are scared they’ll lose their magic if they stop. But tired brains are not terribly creative. In fact, a tired brain starts to stew in its own toxins. What if your magic improved after resting? Your state of mind can change drastically after a nap. Make a place by the window with some cushions to doze, or even read a book. Turn your phone to airplane mode. Put yourself into self-care mode and have a guilt-free rest.

How creative people manage self-care when they’re stressed

Being able to identify the source of the stress is incredibly useful. You’ll often have too much on your plate. Are you expecting too much of yourself? Is there an issue you’ve been avoiding dealing with? Are you over-scheduled with work that isn’t that essential? Work out what the problem is. Then you can plan a long term strategy to deal with it. Make a list of which self-care practices work for you in particularly stressful situations. You’ll be grateful for that list during times when you are so stressed that you can’t even think. Or recruit a friend who can ‘prescribe’ you some rest when you’re too tired to work out what you need.

Are you a creative person who would you like help with your self-care practice? Contact me to find out how my creative coaching can give you the support you need. Email me at sheila@sheilachandra.com for a free 30 minute consultation today.

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Sheila Chandra Biography:
“ Chandra is one of the most distinctive, imaginative and unbelievable vocalists you’ll ever hear. ”
What’s On

Sheila Chandra made some of the most beautiful and innovative recordings in the World Music category − beginning with her band Monsoon’s 1982, ground-breaking Asian Fusion, Top Ten hit around the world, ‘Ever So Lonely’ − until voice problems forced her to retire in 2010.

Since then, in an unlikely twist, she’s gone on to become a best-selling author with Banish Clutter Forever (2010) outlining her own system for home organizing, which she says makes it possible to “pretty much, never tidy up again”.

“ I’ve read other books on clutter but nothing really seems to work. Sheila Chandra’s system is so simple and effective it even worked on an inveterate hoarder like me. Absolutely brilliant. ”
Amazon reviewer

She also began mentoring the (then homeless) street artist Stik in 2008, writing a version of Organizing for Creative People just for him. Stik has gone on to become one of the most famous and collectible street artists in the world. This is an expanded version of her artist advice to him on how to build a strong foundation for his career.


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